The Crew

The Eating Alaska Crew has joined together to take viewers on a wry and revealing journey into the hunt for local and sustainable food sources.

Ellen Frankenstein, Director/Producer/Camera/Editor, is a former and sometimes vegetarian with a strong passion for social and food justice. She prefers to eat local and eat what she knows. That now includes fish, venison and the vegetables she tries to grow in the Alaskan rainforest. She is an independent director, producer, and media educator based in Sitka, Alaska. Frankenstein also created the award-winning documentaries Miles from the Border, A Matter of Respect, Carved from the Heart, and No Loitering. Ellen's work has been supported by awards including a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship and grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Independent Television Service, the Alaska Humanities Forum, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Humanities, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Shirley Thompson, Producer/Story Consultant. Emmy award-winning freelance editor, writer, producer and story consultant, best known for the thought-provoking she has edited, including Pidgin: the Voice of Hawai'i, Special Circumstances, Louie, Louie, Tangled Roots, Surfing for Life and It's Elementary. She collaborated as consulting editor on Ellen Frankenstein's No Loitering. The documentaries she has edited have been awarded Best of Festival Awards, Cine Golden Eagles, and the DuPont Columbia Award for Journalism, and have screened at festivals worldwide. She also writes and produces on-air promotions for PBS' Independent Lens series. Shirley is based in Dallas, Texas, and is a gourmet home cook with a messianic fervor for organic foods. She grows some of her own vegetables and cooks mostly organic meats and produce.

Valerie Lapinski, Associate Producer/Sound. Growing-up in mid-Michigan, Val grew up as carnivore, observing her brothers and father hone their skills with firearms, fishing and archery. In Alaska with the help of some amazingly self-sufficient women friends, Val grappled with her own role in the food chain. She was the Program Director at Raven Radio-KCAW, a community-sponsored radio station in Sitka. She left Alaska and moved to Brooklyn, NY to go the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, intern and work at WNYC Radio, and

J Clements, Consulting Editor, likes to create media that challenges the status quo. Clements holds a MA from Stanford University (filmmaking program) and has produced films that have aired on the Discovery Channel and PBS. She worked as a production manager for Independent Television Service, and then later worked with ITVS as a consultant for individual productions. Clements worked with Frankenstein providing conceptual and editing assistance on Carved from the Heart as well as Eating Alaska. She was excited by working on this story of thinking about what makes a healthy, culturally appropriate and sustainable meal and says the experience changed the way she sees the food she puts on her plate and shares with her son.

Hannah Guggenheim, Camera, is a cinematographer/editor with a base in the Bay area. Highlights for Hannah include shooting for Matthew Barney (while suspended from the fourth floor of San Francisco's MOMA) and chasing after goats and women hunters in the alpine for Eating Alaska. Guggenheim finds herself gravitating towards films about food including shooting for DooF TV, a kids educational cooking show with Alice Waters, and traveling throughout South America, making films about cacao production. Growing up on an organic raspberry farm in rural Massachusetts has led to a desire to document her natural world. Even with the subtitle in the film as the "urban camera person [who] freaks out," she brought that sensibility and much more to Eating Alaska.

Jim Mahan, Executive Producer, has over 25 years of experience in public television production, at KTOO-TV in Juneau, beginning with the cable pulling to camera operator, editor, producer and finally production manager. Jim has a passion for producing programs which have a positive effect on the community in which he lives. Jim served as Executive Producer on programs delivered to PBS such as In the Wake of the Exxon Valdez and Frankenstein's No Loitering, as well as numerous award-winning statewide and local programs. Living by the Tongass National Forest, when time allows Jim finds other passions to pursue, which take him into the wilderness of Alaska, including surfing and sailing.

Tom Disher, Composer. For over two decades Tom has composed and arranged award-winning music for Film, TV, and Interactive Media. Tom was awarded an Emmy for music for the PBS Special John Wooden: Victory, Values, and Peace of Mind. His education includes a Bachelors degree in Classical Piano Performance, with a minor in Jazz Arranging at Hartt College of Music, and four years of full-time Post-Graduate studies in composition. He also graduated from the Rock 'N Roll school of hard knocks on the road touring with various bands. He has owned and operated Disher Music & Sound since 1993. Tom used his talents on Eating Alaska to bring out a sense of a journey with layerings, juxtapositions and a good dose of the "quirk" that Ellen wanted to match her character in the film.

More Eating Alaska Crew

Food Artist: Colette Nelson, Chef/Owner, Ludvig's Bistro
Additional Camera: S. Leo Chiang
Writing Advisors: Charlie Pearson, Doug Blush, Theresa Tavel
Sound Designer: Paul Zahnley
Additional Music: Kari Lundgren
Website Design: Richard Risemberg
Made in Association with KTOO-TV